TWO WELLINGTON MEN PLEAD GUILTY IN MAIL AND AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT RING
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Miami Field Office, and Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Office, announced that Ricardo Lee Penn, 48, and Dorian Jerrell Cawley, 26, both of Wellington, pled guilty today to charges of conspiracy to commit mail theft and access device fraud, unauthorized use of access devices and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, U. S. C. §§ 371, 1708, 1029 & 1028A. In addition to those charges, Penn also pled guilty to mail theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, U. S. C. §§ 1708 and 922(g)(1).
Two co-defendants who were also indicted in this case, Jamaal Willie Williams and Willie Antwon Little, are scheduled to be in court on February 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm. A fifth defendant, Horace Lincoln Taffe, previously pled guilty.
According to the charges and statements made in court, between August 1, 2008 and July 23, 2010, Penn and Cawley conspired to steal credit and debit cards from the mailboxes of residents of Wellington and other cities, and to use those cards to make purchases and make cash withdrawals from the accounts. According to the charges, in some cases, multiple $500 money orders were purchased using the stolen debit cards, which were then cashed by Penn, Cawley and others. In other cases, large purchases were made at area stores and restaurants.
According to court filings, one victim suffered losses of more than $160,000, another victim lost more than $66,000, a third victim lost approximately $44,000, and a fourth victim lost approximately $26,000. These four victims were residents of Wellington whose mail was stolen and their identities were compromised as a result of the theft. The identities of many other victims were stolen as well, according to documents filed as part of the guilty plea in the case. As part of his plea agreement, Penn admitted that these crimes caused fraud losses to the victims of $786,000.
The defendants are scheduled for sentencing on April 27, 2011. At sentencing, they each face up to 10 years in prison on the access device fraud charge plus a consecutive two year sentence for aggravated identity theft, and up to five years on the conspiracy count. In addition, Penn faces prison terms of up to 5 years on the mail theft count and up to 10 years on the firearm charge. Both defendants also face up to $250,000 in fines and mandatory restitution as to each charge against them.
Mr. Ferrer commended the U. S. Postal Inspection Service and the U. S. Secret Service for their work in the case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Jorgensen in the West Palm Beach U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.